Like the rest of the University, our colleagues from the Academic Practice Team in the Learning and Teaching Development Service (LTDS) have redeveloped their face to face small group teaching sessions for online delivery. Their learners are postgraduate research students taking the Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILTHE) and academic staff new to Newcastle University who are engaging with Newcastle Educational Practice Scheme (NEPS) Units en route to UKPSF fellowship.
I met up with Dr Rosa Spencer, Emma McCulloch and Chris Whiting to ask about their top tips on how they planned these 1-2 hour sessions, how they used them to build community, and what they did to keep these Zoom teaching sessions engaging and accessible.
Delegate registration is open for the Researching, Advancing & Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE) Conference.
Student participation is particularly welcomed (students pay a very low fee). This year there is a two day format but this is followed by a Development Day on the 6th with workshops and SIGS at the same venue.
The conference aims to offer a forum and platform showcasing practice and research about, student engagement (SE) and working in partnership. Staff in all roles, all students, and others interested in university and college higher education are welcome.
There are over 100 presentations and keynotes from Cathy Bovill, Brice MacFarlane and Colin Bryson.
There is still capacity for posters (those accepted will benefit from the presenter discount).
Workshop:Staff and Student perspectives of Personal Tutoring – Gemma Taylor – University of Derby
MA dissertation research on personal tutoring with a small case study conducted between Jan and March 18 on a UG Programme. Consider student perspective on if the tutorial scheme was fit for purpose and if this enhances the student experience, and for staff to identify any training of changes. Improvement for EDI, widening participation, retention and support. Tutors are frontline for pastoral support; create sense of belonging with relationship with tutor; influence on student engagement; effect on satisfaction, wellbeing and retention rates; development of self-motivation. Continue reading UKAT Annual Conference 2018 – Workshop: Staff and Student perspectives of Personal Tutoring→
How and when are results of Module Evaluations received by Academic Staff?
Each module should be evaluated every time it is delivered using the University’s module evaluation system, EvaSys. The results are usually sent to Academic staff via email in the form of PDF attachments, and this is done in one of two ways;
The survey is set up by local Professional Services staff to automatically send the PDF results upon closure of the survey. This option can be selected during the creation of the survey.
Local Professional Services staff manually send the results in PDF format from within the EvaSys system at an agreed time. This option can be used if the automatic dispatch is not selected during survey setup.
In both instances the timing of the surveys and the receipt of results should be agreed within the academic unit, paying particular attention to survey close times to allow for discussion of results with senior colleagues if required.
The International Student Barometer is currently open and, as with any survey, there are actions that could be taken to help boost response rates.
Actively encourage completion using a mobile device. Most people have at least one mobile device and the ISB Survey can be completed on any device by following the personalised link emailed to students. Wireless access is being continuously improved across campus (as a result of student feedback!) which should make this really easy and convenient.
If possible arrange dedicated information sessions or set aside a brief amount of time at the start or end of timetabled sessions for students to complete surveys on their own devices.
Task student ambassadors or stage reps with encouraging their cohort to take part in surveys by posting on School/Programme social media. Encouraging discussion among student cohorts may lead to positive suggestions for improvement. Announcements could also be made on Blackboard community or module pages.
For all internal and external surveys it is important to ensure examples of improvements made both in house and across the wider University in response to results are communicated to students. Try to highlight what has been achieved at local level in response to past surveys of any kind and direct students to the ‘You Said We Did‘ webpage for examples of how student feedback has helped shape the student experience.
Prizes to be won!
Don’t forget to remind students that in return for their valued opinions, all respondents are entered into a prize draw (see terms and conditions). In 2017, the prizes include:
1st Place prize: 5-inch iPad Pro (one available to win)
2nd Place prizes: iPad mini 4 (two available to win)
3rd Place prizes:£20 Amazon gift card (20 available to win)
What does it matter anyway?
The Student Voice is an essential component of how the University does business. We need to hear about student experiences and work with students to improve the student experience for them and for future students. While feedback can be gathered in other ways such as through Student-Staff Committees, student surveys give the opportunity to capture data that can be compared easily between academic years and stages. Positive and negative responses are equally as important as we need to know what we do well so it can be rolled out as best practice, and where we can improve to help students have the best experience possible.
The higher the response rate to a survey, the more representative the findings should be.
If you have any queries regarding the ISB or any examples of efforts to boost response rates you would like to shareplease contact us.
Both the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey and the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey closed with the highest response rates that Newcastle University has ever achieved at 65% and 57% respectively.
This is a fantastic achievement which would not be possible without the continued support and promotion of the surveys from colleagues across the university, thank you!
In terms of Newcastle’s overall satisfaction rate for the PRES, 85% of students agreed with the statement ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the experience of my research degree programme’. This represents an increase of 2% on 2015, and is 3% higher than the Russell Group average.
Also in the PRES, over 90% of students agreed that their supervisor has the skills and subject knowledge to support their research and that they have regular contact with their supervisor that is appropriate to their needs. This represents an increase of 2% on 2016
In the PTES Early results show that satisfaction has remained high with over 90% of students agreeing that staff are good at explaining things and are enthusiastic about their teaching.
For further information regarding student surveys please visit our webpage.
The annual Learning & Teaching Conference for staff at Newcastle University took place on Monday 27 March 2017. Celebrating learning and teaching at Newcastle University, it was organised by ourselves on behalf of the Pro Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, Professor Suzanne Cholerton.
This year’s theme was Reimagining Teaching Excellence, and the day was spread over two venues: the Lindisfarne Room in the Kings Road Centre and the Herschel Learning Lab, with lunch and an engaging poster session in the foyer of the Herschel Building.
Paul spoke eloquently about making curricular changes in higher education institutions and introduced us to examples from all over the world, including Melbourne Arizona State and Hong Kong Universities, whilst provoking questions about how such decisions are made, the associated risks, and how we know whether these interventions have been effective.
He went on to question Biggs’ ideas on constructive alignment, much quoted in educational development, and suggested these ideas were a good servant but a bad master for developing curricula. Asking what the real links are between research and teaching, he moved on to discuss the recent White Paper and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
He also covered themes around commodity, interdisciplinarity, globalisation and networks. Professor Blackmore’s keynote was well received and set the scene well for challenging what teaching excellence is, and for taking risks when thinking about changing the curriculum.
Next, Sara Marsham, JC Penet and Vanessa Armstrong took the stage to talk about teaching excellence and the Newcastle Educators peer educator network. In an interactive session they asked us to share ideas of what teaching excellence is or could be, and made the point that the concept is very culturally bound.
The last session of the morning had everyone scribbling notes furiously as representatives past and present from the Newcastle University Student Union (NUSU) talked about the analysis they had done on the NUSU Teaching Excellence Awards, highlighting some of the report‘s findings. Students at Newcastle value an eclectic mix of learning and teaching approaches including blended learning, flipped classroom, TEL, and collaborative approaches to learning.
Our students see learning as incremental, and appreciate the intellectual generosity of their lecturers, their knowledge and expertise. They like lectures to be a conversation, through use of open discussion and participation in the learning process. This creates an atmosphere where students feel enabled to contribute and speak up, as well as opportunities to talk to staff informally.
The report highlights that what happens before, during and after the lecture are all important. This really highlighted how much students are engaged in thinking about good teaching. They really don’t see academic time as an unlimited, on-demand service.
At lunch the poster session took place and the audience was asked to vote for their favourite posters.
For the afternoon sessions we moved from the Lindisfarne Room to the Herschel Learning Lab. A session using the facilities in the Herschel Learning Lab was facilitated by Craig Smith, who looked at developing the Newcastle University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Strategy. Attendees contributed their ideas about the key factors that the new strategy should include, collaborating in group and utilising the room’s technology.
We attempted to use all of the affordances of the Herschel Learning Lab (HLL) in this highly engaging session (not least because of the omnipresence of Tina Turner!). Some colleagues who have successfully used the HLL then showed us how to use it properly.
Ulrike Thomas, Ellen Tullo, TT Arvind, James Stanfield, and Katie Wray were all familiar with the space and outlined how they had successfully used it with some diverse cohorts over very different courses, from all three Faculties. Ulrike reminded us that we can look at learning spaces in the teaching room finder.
TT suggested that planning how you were going to use the technologies in the HLL was essential to success, and by using the affordances of the space, the barriers between teaching and learning could be broken.
Linear and block teaching, group meetings, workshops, society meetings all worked well in the space said Katie Wray, but group work, collaboration using activities, engagement and video all worked particularly well. What worked less well? More than 20 groups, lectern based lectures, and the inflexibility of the space all posed challenges.
The resources from the day are available from the LTDS website. Don’t forget you can find many examples of effective learning and teaching practice on the case studies database.
Please comment on this post, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how we can make next year even better!
Nearly a month has passed since the launch of the NSS so we thought it would be helpful to share some good ideas from colleagues across the university who have achieved strong early response rates.
Identify Key Timetabled Sessions
The Dental School used a mock exam feedback session to run through the NSS information slides at the end. Why not go one step further and also leave time for students to complete the survey on their mobile devices?
Strategy and Planning
The School of Arts and Cultures devised a communication plan to keep their Media students aware of what was happening which included;
Welcome back emails at the start of Semester 2 highlighting actions already taken as a result of student feedback
A brief introduction to the NSS around the launch date to explain how it works and that they will be given time the following week to complete the survey
A detailed presentation one week after opening followed by time to complete the survey before main lecture started
Communication of response rates to students, thanking them and sending reminders if necessary
In the future it is envisaged that this strategy will be rolled out across other programmes in the School.
Promoting a strong student/staff partnership
Professor Janice Ellis from the Dental School told us; ‘…we have good Student/Staff committee structures and in the general we have tried to promote an environment in which students genuinely feel that their opinion is valued. This has been reflected recently in student comments at the Student Staff Committee’.
A key theme emerging is that Schools who promote an environment where students feel that their opinion is valued tend to achieve higher response rates.
This can be achieved by actively ‘closing the loop’ through demonstrating and communicating actions taken following Student Staff Committees, Module Evaluation and Stage Evaluation throughout all stages of degree programmes.
If you have any initiatives that you have introduced in house in an effort to boost response rates or encourage student engagement with the NSS and would like to share your ideas, then please contact the Learning and Teaching Development Service by emailing email@example.com